Dharamshala bypoll: High polling in OBC-dominated areas keep BJP, Congress guessing
Even as the main ruling BJP and opposition Congress claim victory in the bypoll for Dharmashala assembly segment, the high polling percentage in rural Other Backward Classes (OBC) dominated-areas is keeping the traditional rivals guessing about the electoral fortunes.
The Dharamshala assembly segment went to polls on Monday, recording 65.39% turnout which was considerably low compared to 76% in 2017 assembly elections.
In 2019 parliamentary polls too, the constituency had recorded a significant voter turnout of 70.39%.
As per the data released by district electoral officer Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, 53,063 voters exercised their franchise.
Analyses of booth-wise data reveal that the rural areas recorded a high polling percentage compared to the urban areas.
In rural area too, the booths that are dominated by the OBC population recorded significantly high voting.
Both BJP and Congress have fielded candidates from tribal Gaddi community. The saffron party’s choice was Vishal Nehria while Congress picked Vijay Inder Karan.
Rakesh Chaudhary, a BJP rebel who belongs to OBC community, contested as an independent. He alleged discrimination with the community by both the political parties and made it a poll plank.
Booths in Ghana, Bagli Bhadwal, Dhagwar, Sukkar, Kand, Thamba, Ball, Kariana, Jadrangal and Tangroti villages have recorded a high polling between 70-80%. All the villages are dominated by OBC population.
Other villages also where the OBC have a considerable population recorded a high poll percentage.
Contrary to it, the Gaddi dominated belt has recorded a low voter turnout. Dharamshala, McLeodganj, Forsythganj, Bhagsunag, Dharamkot and Khaniyara recorded polling between 60-65% which is considerably low compared to the rural areas. Urban belt in the constituency is dominated by Gaddi population.
Political analyst Priyabhishek Sharma said the overall low percentage and heavy polling in OBC-dominated booths was indicator of a tough triangular contest.
“Though, nothing could be said about the outcome, the independent candidate Chaudhary may tilt and play spoilsport for the either of the two parties or even may spring a bigger surprise,” said Sharma.
It is worth mentioning that Chaudhary was in Congress for a long time before switching sides to the BJP in 2015.
The female voters in Dharamshala constituency have once again outnumbered their male counterparts when it comes to participate in polling.
Of a total 52,036 electors who exercised their franchise 26,640 were women and 26,423.
In 2017 elections too, women had recorded a high voting percentage of 50.5% against 47.9% by men.
In 2019 parliamentary polls also the voting percentage of women was higher than the men.